Shrewsbury beer distributor launches online shop to sell craft brews
A craft beer distributor has launched a new service delivering drinks to people's homes, building on its growing wholesale operation.
Real Ale Direct, which is based at Hadnall near Shrewsbury, was set up five years ago by entrepreneur Matt Davies.
Since then the operation has grown, and the business imports craft beers from the USA and all over Europe to distribute across the UK, capitalising on a growing taste for craft beer among the nation's drinkers.
It also sells a number of local brewers' drinks, including for its next-door neighbour Salopian Brewery.
Now the business has launched a website which will allow it to start selling some of the imported tipples to local people, after the company recently expanded into larger premises.
Mr Davies, who is 34, said: "I started on my own five years ago distributing Shropshire beers into Mid Wales, as there's a lot of places Shropshire breweries don't go.
"As the business grew I know we needed different things, and we started moving out to everywhere within a two-hour drive – Liverpool, Birmingham.
"To get to where we have we sourced the best beers from the the UK, Europe, America, and we also represent a few local breweries."
The company has now appointed a staff member to run its online operation, meaning the business now has three drivers and three full-time office staff.
Mr Davies added: "We have a 3,000 sq ft warehouse now, having moved from a 1,000 sq ft one in Shawbury.
"We now want the online shops to be a big part of the business, as there's not really any big players out there taking a lead on it.
"There are one or two companies that are the driving force in every sector, but not in beer deliveries.
"There's a demand nationally for what we are doing, and that's why free delivery is a good local service to provide."
The company has supply deals with American craft brewery Clown Shoes, Italian beer maker Brewfist, and London's Beavertown, among others.
"A lot of what we sell you can't get in the supermarkets," Mr Davies said.
"We want the online shop to kick on and have taken somebody on to help with that."